Savoy Steps is the astonishing site where Dylan filmed the video for Subterranean Homesick Blues. I’d always assumed it was New York, but when I read that it was London, off Strand, I went hunting-gathering. Amazingly it was only yards from where Blake lived his final six years, and died in 1827. Somehow the two greatest bardic figures of the 20th century – Dylan and Ginsberg – had found this space to innovate, in 1965. It was pure chance. Dylan was staying at the Savoy Hotel. They’d tried filming on Embankment but the police began hassling them.
It’s a terrific end to my William Blake walk. Blake dies, we go down a few steps, turn a corner, and we’re on this mindblowing backstreet, taking the Blake energy into brilliant futures, finding out new incarnations…
It’s also holy ground. The famous film censors out a real church which is immediately to Dylan’s left, Savoy Chapel, dedicated to John the Baptist. It’s been around long enough to have been trashed by Wat Tyler and co. during the Peasants’ Revolt in 1381
when they burned down the Savoy Palace, John of Gaunt’s London pad.
In 2011, I organised a 70th birthday celebration for Bob Dylan on this site attended by many great poets and musicians, two of whom – Jeremy Reed and John Gibbens – had poems in the celebratory anthology The Captain’s Tower. http://www.serenbooks.com/book/the-captains-tower-poems-for-bob-dylan-at-70/9781854115607
Here I am filming a tribute poem to Ginsberg, standing in the Dylan position. Helen Moore is ‘Ginsberging’ about in the background.
Here’s the man himself with Ginsberg ‘Ginsberging about’ in the background:
Here’s a drawing from days of yore:
Anyway, nothing to get excited about, it’s just an